Coronavirus: Childminders in Scotland to receive sustainability grants
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Childminders in Scotland are to receive a further £2.2m funding to support the sustainability of their businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Scottish Government has announced today.
The funding is to ensure that all childminders registered with the Care Inspectorate will receive individual grants of up to £750 to help maintain financial viability while attendance is low due to the pandemic.
The money is in addition to £1m announced last month, which was criticised for only supporting around a third of childminding settings in Scotland.
A survey conducted by the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) in late September found that 79 per cent of childminders have had a significant reduction in the number of children in their settings due to Covid-19 and, in particular, due to the continuing requirement for parents to work from home.
It also highlighted that 46 per cent of childminding settings in Scotland did not believe their businesses would remain viable for more than three to six months without either an increase in business, or additional financial support.
Children’s minister Maree Todd said, ‘Childminders are a vital and valued part of our childcare sector, providing high quality care and learning in a safe and nurturing environment.
‘Just as many other childcare providers have experienced financial pressures as a result of the pandemic and the restrictions that have been placed on them, childminders too have raised genuine concern about the future sustainability of their businesses.
‘I’m pleased that we have been able to increase the funding available to support the profession, and by simplifying the process we will be able to get the funds to those who need them more quickly.’
Graeme McAlister, SCMA chief executive, welcomed the further financial support but said that the sector still faces challenges.
‘We welcomed the £1m of financial support announced last month, as this would have provided vital support to those childminding settings most in need, but it would only have supported around one in three childminding businesses in Scotland when the level of need is much greater,’ he said.
‘Since that funding was announced we have been advising the Scottish Government on different potential options for the shape of the sustainability fund, who might be eligible and undertaking a range of financial modelling. However, this work just served to further affirm the limited nature of the funding, that applications would require complex needs assessment and ultimately it would fall far short of the level of need – as such, further scaling up of financial support was required.
‘To its credit, the Scottish Government has listened and continued to engage positively with SCMA and others. The further £2.2 million for childminding is very welcome. However, it is clear that Covid-19 continues to present significant challenges and risks to childminding businesses and that this much-needed financial gain could be easily undermined if any further operating restrictions were to be placed on childminding businesses during the pandemic.’
Grants of up to £750 will be available via application to the Scottish Government to all childminding services registered with the Care Inspectorate as of 1 February 2021. Further information will be made available.